Average User Score: 5.5Jan 20, 2015C:BE is a difficult game to review negatively when played only for a short period of time. At first glance, you are offered a new CivilizationC:BE is a difficult game to review negatively when played only for a short period of time. At first glance, you are offered a new Civilization game with a completely overhauled tech tree, new units, new surroundings and a new setting. It holds promise until you have finished a couple of games and realize the truth behind this Civilization V reskin.
Did I just say 'Civ V reskin'? Indeed. Every resource has been converted into a seemingly different, yet extremely similar mechanic. Gold has become Energy, for example, and Happiness has been changed to 'Health'. Sensible choices for the setting the game is in, but these design choices make C:BE feel, play and look like a reskin. The game is not helped either by the minimalistic UI and the complete lack of backstory or CGI movies, every pop up feels like a glorified text box with little flair or soul to it.
The above is especially disturbing when you consider this is a 4X developed by Firaxis, a company that released a game such as Alpha Centauri. There are loads upon loads of hidden references to that game, but not one single moment does C:BE aspire to that level of greatness, polish or immersion.
Every faction in the game feels like a lifeless husk dropped onto an alien planet with an odd and surreal backstory, supported by what is supposed to be the backbone of the game: Affinities. It is through this mechanic that you progress to stronger units with more unique abilities. Affinities can be combined, mixed and matched in any way the player sees fit; another example of a game mechanic that just hasn't really been fleshed out and thought over critically, because it results in every game becoming an 'affinity race' and having access to more than one at high level is always a huge advantage. End result? Every game is exactly the same: you rush a few cities, a few starting techs to boost production or fill the blanks in your economy, and the affinity race starts. Early game units are nowhere near strong enough to rush enemy cities or really make a lasting difference, since the alien population will most likely destroy those attempts completely, while becoming utterly worthless and underpowered once you obtain the first Affinity-based unit. Oh, and don't even think those aliens will ever be an issue, or the planet will ever be a threat to your growth and prosperity. There IS no threat in C:BE. There is only the 'next turn' button, which you will find yourself clicking like a madman to finish that affinity race and finish the game.
C:BE misses the mark completely as an enticing, deep or challenging 4X. It looks nice, sounds good, and that about sums it all up. All the rest feels like an incomplete shell of rehashed Civ V mechanics that lack in every respect.
My two cents: avoid like the plague, maybe revisit after it has been expanded and properly fleshed out. C:BE is a shameless copy of tried and tested concepts with a price tag of a whole new game, which it is clearly not. There are dozens of 4X games that do literally every single thing a lót better.… Expand
Average User Score: 4.6Aug 26, 2014Watch Dogs in its current state, with post-release patch, is playable and runs fine on PC. This review is written based on a modded andWatch Dogs in its current state, with post-release patch, is playable and runs fine on PC. This review is written based on a modded and patched Watch_Dogs, which eliminates the poor performance and lackluster graphics of the original release. However, the game itself and its core mechanics still suffer from a simplicity that destroys the game's (re-) play value.
When you first start playing this game and the possibilities of hacking open up to you, it all seems very promising and fun. The city of Chicago is quite large, the setting is interesting, the game looks great (with E3 graphics mod, that is) and runs smooth. An absolutely *massive* amount of mini-games, collectibles and other small events becomes available quite fast, and before finishing the first Act of five of the games' story, it is very likely you will have explored all of these options. It is also very likely that you will hack everything and everyone you come across (simply because there is no effort involved) which will quickly fill your bank account and allows you to unlock every single weapon in the game.
And then... then you've played 4-5 story missions, done some random events, and you stumble upon the fact that this is it. The game won't get any more interesting. The game won't surprise you at any time. The difficulty of missions is only ramped up by linking a number of repetitive objectives together. The best moments of creativity consist of walking around looking for cameras to hack a ctOS tower, or a QR code. All of the side missions are just variations on the same objective set, which is extremely limited: kill or knock down a target, drive a time trial, avoid cops, hit Q to hack something.
At its core, Watch Dogs is an open-world cover-based shooter with some gimmicks added to it that make the game far too easy and straightforward. Within the first three hours of play, the endless rinse-and-repeat of objectives and collectibles makes the otherwise well detailed city a boring place. The story itself is not bad, but the protagonist is a lifeless shell with zero personality that directly detracts from the great setting and potential of the narrative.
For those who approach games like these with a sandbox- attitude, here is what your gripes with the game will likely be:
- Every single thing in this game is a recap of things you have done in other Ubisoft free roamers like AC and Far Cry. Capturing watchtowers, taking camps, time trial races, and a crapload of collectibles that have no impact on the game in any way.
- Every bit of creativity that could go into hacking is lost due to the incredible lack of skill needed to do so. Hit Q to hack world, really.
- With hacking being repetitive and overly simplified, all this game has going for it is cover-based gunplay and driving vehicles.
- Driving vehicles is not too bad, but even on PC will work far better with a gamepad. I played this game with a dualshock PS3 gamepad, and it felt like the way it should be played. Keyboard/mouse driving is horrible, overly responsive and poorly implemented.
- Shootouts are only challenging if you choose to use the cheapest weaponry and stay off the 'Focus' button. What 'Q' is for hacking, 'Focus' is the shortcut to facerolling every encounter in combat.
At its core, Watch Dogs feels like a complete rinse-and-repeat of other Ubisoft titles and game concepts. Lazy, boring, repetitive and an utter waste of such a promising setting and game world.
Watch Dogs could have been, should have been so much more than this.… Expand
Average User Score: 3.8Jul 20, 2014NOTE: This is an Early Access review, written on published date. Consider this a hands-on status update instead of a review.
Kinetic VoidNOTE: This is an Early Access review, written on published date. Consider this a hands-on status update instead of a review.
Kinetic Void was in my Steam library for over a year until I figured 'Hey, let's check back here'. A year ago, the game had little to nothing going for it apart from a great concept and interesting ideas surrounded by a host of potential issues with that concept. When I had first bought the game, it was nothing more than a badly coded 'Build your own spaceship' editor, with clunky menu structure and a complete lack of oversight on what you were doing. Many game features were only in the game through a nametag and had no body or actual mechanic to them yet.
So how does 'KV' do today? TL:DR version - it is a glorified shipyard. However, today, KV does do a host of things better than it did them a year ago. Performance wise, the game is no longer a memory and cpu knockout punch. Even larger ships and ships consisting of a high module count don't render the game unplayable like they used to do (consider 4.0 FPS on an overclocked i5 for a performance indication at the time) and at the same time, many aspects of the game look at lot better, including the shipyard.
Still, all of this is subject to change. What bothers me with KV, however, and has bothered me since shortly after purchase, is how the game is presented and how the current 'included feature list' and the actual game compare. Looking at that feature list you would almost think the game is already playable.
But outside of that really cool shipyard, there is a huge void awaiting you. A void that has literally nothing. No small debris, no nebulas, no asteroid fields. Just a planet in the distance, a massive station that you just got out of... and a bunch of moving dots on your hud. Gameplay wise, KV has a host of problems that I don't see any developer insight or solution on: the sense of movement in space is completely absent, ships are horrifyingly slow (even those built as fast ones) or the scaling makes them feel that way, and at the same time enemy ships are usually far too small for the players' vessel. Collision is clunky or non-existent, there are many invisible walls of death in the game (yes, in a space game, of all things) and if you fly a big ship, any smaller vessel will just crash against your hull, just like your ship goes 'splat' against any kind of larger ship, regardless of velocity or impact point.
These lacking mechanics make KV feel like a horribly clunky game, where still, a year after purchase, there is really nothing much other than a nice ship builder.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.7Jul 13, 2014This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Not often do I rate a game with 10 out of 10. Divinity Original Sin does not even deserve a 10/10 in a way as it has been released with some uncanny design choices (mostly in the UI), but still gets the highest score because every other game element is so powerful and the game mechanics offer unsurpassed replayability, depth and tactical choice.
Divinity:OS is best compared to classics like Baldur's Gate and older TES titles such as Morrowind. Going back to the old-school isometric perspective feels like a sensible, logical and nostalgic choice that shows its merit throughout the whole game. Not once would I consider playing this game in a 3rd or 1st person perspective. Every single piece of environment presents a potential piece of the puzzle to your quest solution which adds greatly to playtime and a sense of discovery and natural immersion.
Combat and character development rules are original, inventive and understandable, but unforgiving. Imagine destroying a boss made out of lava in one turn, only to walk past its corpse on the next and instantly killing yourself because that boss left a puddle of lava. A simple example of one of the many reasons you will be saving often, retrying encounters and redoing pieces of the game just to experience the myriad of possibilities every little sequence has to offer. Every minute of play is a learning experience, adding new knowledge and depth to the game.
In addition to the astounding brilliance in gameplay just from the original campaign, Divinity:OS also offers a complete construction kit and encourages a vibrant modding community. The first pieces of community-driven content are already underway and the patching and post-release support is fast, active and to-the-point. Larian keeps listening to the community and still strives to improve the game.
Indie gaming at its best. RPG has been re-invented and redesigned. Divinity:OS is the new template for the future of the isometric, true Role-Playing Game.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.8Jul 13, 2014A fun and good-looking 4X game, that unfortunately does not last very long in the hands of those familiar with 4X titles. Even though there isA fun and good-looking 4X game, that unfortunately does not last very long in the hands of those familiar with 4X titles. Even though there is a wide variation in spells, races and classes and the seemingly 'infinite' amount of combinations and games this should offer, every game essentially plays the same.
Age of Wonders has a few major flaws that make the game boring very fast:
- Class balance is off. Certain classes are capable of destroying most others, while other classes, in particular those that rely heavily on spellcasting, are virtually powerless against a gold-based class with a good army such as the Rogue or Warlord. With a smart mix of racial and class-specific units, these two become even more overpowered. The simple fact is, players can only cast a single spell each turn of combat, while they can move and attack with every separate unit on the field - this makes physical combat by definition far more influential than spells could ever be.
- Lack of depth in development. While building your empire, with a few lucky early resources, you can rush straight to 'endgame'. If you'd really want to, 'endgame' units are easily achieved and there is a glaring lack of depth to the tech trees and units that become available. There are four tiers of everything, which means that a research-oriented player can whip out maximum tier units within 30 minutes of play, or possibly even faster depending on your luck with resources. After those first 30 minutes, there is no longer any kind of stronger unit available. Not a single 4X game presents such a flat tech tree, because of the simple fact that are those 30 minutes are over, the game stops being interesting and surprising.
These two key points will, eventually, and for me already after about 4 games, destroy the entire experience and lead to a dull, boring game that revolves around simple rush tactics to win. Sure you could make your life difficult, but then you notice that the AI utilizes said rush tactics as well - end of story.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.9Dec 19, 2013Tera. Once an MMO with sub fee, today it has been around for awhile as a F2P. How does it fare?
- Free to play Tera’s content is entirelyTera. Once an MMO with sub fee, today it has been around for awhile as a F2P. How does it fare?
- Free to play
Tera’s content is entirely free and at first glance there isn’t much Pay2Win to be found. This feeling lasts until you find out about the existence of Tera Club membership in combination with endgame and the immense grind associated with it. To what extent is Tera free to play then? To be precise, it is f2p to the extent you feel you want to grind for stuff. The Club membership will easily cut this time in half with daily reputation, gold and XP bonuses, a free means of teleportation and faster mount. Other things in the store are mostly cosmetic, consumable and temporary bonuses. Tera actually does very well keeping the P2W out, and making the cash shop a shortcut to ‘buy time’. So far, all seems well.
- Gameplay & Mechanics
The best part of Tera comes to light during combat. Tera’s combat mechanics are interesting, largely skill-based, fast paced and require true aiming and dodging. Especially melee classes are extremely fun to play, while casters feel somewhat slow and sluggish due to cast times and animations. Good players can be separated from the bad by watching their rotations and how they act and move around, which is a great thing. Unfortunately, this mostly shows itself in PvE, as the PvP of Tera is grossly unbalanced and bland because there is no form of matchmaking available; in PvP this results in unbalanced teams where several players possess gear that outclasses everything else, making winning and losing very much the luck of the draw. In PvE, it becomes clear from the first hour playing that you are dealing with a Korean style MMO. Lots of grind, uninteresting narrative, and lots of quests that involve going from A to B and killing X monsters. The good combat mechanics make the grind bearable but levelling is incredibly repetitive. PvE endgame involves dungeons, which is where the nice loot can be found, but there is also a daily event that potentially drops much more loot than can be gained from dungeon runs. There are several tiered sets of gear and weapons, and only by doing the most difficult dungeon can the best ones be obtained. All content before this final dungeon however, is surprisingly easy and not really worth doing as the daily loot event gives better stuff. A missed chance, because this basically means that endgame Tera consists of two or three dungeon runs and a daily event, plus whatever else you would choose to waste time on (because there is no useful reward to it).
Tera’s community is one typical of MMO’s, not surprisingly harsh or surprisingly friendly. There are many established guilds, but the transition to F2P and the changes it has brought, are gradually but surely destroying the community. One major flaw in the game is that essential items to upgrade best-in-slot gear pieces have been phased out of the normal economy and are actually now only scarcely available. This is where Tera has gone horribly wrong. EnMasse, the publisher of Tera in the U.S., is doing a far better job at managing the game’s economy than its European counterpart (GameForge). Customer support from Gameforge is horrible at best, and after playing for a year I can safely say the situation will not ever change. Gameforge is in fact the largest issue Tera EU has, as it is a company with no interest whatsoever in what the community thinks, wants and needs. In the past year, many decisions that have proven detrimental to the game have been pushed through and the effects are still felt to this day. For example, if you are not sinking all of your time (and cash!) into this game, do not ever expect to get to the highest gear tiers. And for a game like Tera with limited end game content, this is deadly.
Conclusion: Tera is a great pick up to experience and play a few classes, as it has a refreshing take on combat, fun, varied classes and smooth gameplay. Other than that, Tera is an MMO lacking in many aspects for which almost all credit goes to the publisher Gameforge for crippling the endgame economy. With the latest content update (which adds a whole new gear tier), things may change, but given the publishers stance on things in the past, I have little hope. The game world is full of great potential places to explore and grind, but Gameforge has stripped the loot tables to push essential stuff to paid alternatives and most places you visit are a time sink and nothing else. One big piece of advice would be, if you play, don’t sink too much money in it too early, because there is a fair chance you’ll find it was not worth it.
Graphics: 7/10 Good visuals, nice art, but very poorly optimized
Sound: 6/10 Nothing special
Gameplay: 9/10 Great combat mechanics, almost make you forget the endlessness of the grind
Community/Publisher: 5/10 Gameforge needs to do a much better job satisfying the community, EnMasse (NA) is doing a far better job. If you play this, consider NA servers… Expand
Average User Score: 8.7Dec 19, 2013Welcome to Space Rangers, the most expansive 2D space sandbox-RPG you have ever encountered. Space Rangers is a unique game that attempts toWelcome to Space Rangers, the most expansive 2D space sandbox-RPG you have ever encountered. Space Rangers is a unique game that attempts to merge multiple genres into a single, satisfying experience. Players get served with a set of (mini-) games throughout the game, such as old school top-down strategy to conquer and defend planets, old school text-based RPG's to simulate special events in your life (such as going to prison, or carrying out special assignments) and an arcade-sim racer in 2D.
The bulk of the gameplay on offer is however a 2D-space sim in which you fly your craft through the galaxy, having fun in the sandbox and by carrying out missions for different species. These activities and the mini-games themselves offer rewards that can be used to upgrade and customize your ship. Hundreds of stations and planets with their own questlines, upgrades and special ship hulls can be explored, while each species is also a faction in the galaxy and can turn friend or foe depending on your actions.
Even though the engine is incredibly outdated and the 'HD' in its title means nothing more than a resolution upgrade for the most part, this game has such a wealth of content, such a massive amount of things to do and such a well constructed sandbox that it simply cannot be missed. Think 2D-Freespace, throw in a decent amount of RPG elements and customization, add a narrative that you can shape as you see fit, then add a healthy dose of arcade and RTS to the mix. Each of the mini-games stand out on their own as feature-complete, although somewhat unbalanced, and will guarantee dozens of hours of gameplay on their own.
Space Rangers has no trouble taking up most, if not all of your free time for a couple hundred hours to come you have been warned!… Expand
Average User Score: 4.0Jul 26, 2013When you see the startling difference between User Review and Critics Review scores, you quickly draw the obvious conclusion: Diablo 3 has noWhen you see the startling difference between User Review and Critics Review scores, you quickly draw the obvious conclusion: Diablo 3 has no right of existence and has been hyped beyond belief, while delivering a sub-par experience that has not only been riddled with launch and patch problems in the past, but today still suffers from a bad design, extremely limited content and too many console-friendly mechanics choices.
Diablo 3 wants to be plug and play for the masses, but that is never the game it was intended to be from part one. Fun for single playthrough on a day off, as eight to nine hours should do the job. Easily. The game does not deserve a single hour more, though.… Expand
Average User Score: 5.1Jul 18, 2013Rage tries really hard to trick us into believing we are playing an open-world, sandbox-ish Borderlands clone. Unfortunately, none of theRage tries really hard to trick us into believing we are playing an open-world, sandbox-ish Borderlands clone. Unfortunately, none of the elements of this game are worked out well;
- The open world consists of nothing more than a series of three 'areas', which in themselves offer nothing more than the ability to drive by the 'levels' and enter them straight from this 'open world'. The actual missions are separated from this world by a loading screen and extremely obvious entrance points. In fact, the only freedom RAGE offers is being able to select one of three available missions and the order in which you do them.
- Enemy AI does nothing to entertain you, is blatantly stupid and adds nothing to the game.
- Graphics look nice but nothing we haven't seen before. There is a lot of talk about great textures, yes environment looks OK, but is nowhere near worth buying the game for; especially since all the other elements are done so badly.
- Weaponry feels like we've been there before. Bioshock comes to mind in terms of gunplay mechanics. Don't expect any original weapons and certainly don't expect them to give you a satisfying grin shooting with them. The special items such as the Wingstick are actually the very things that add some level of joy (you can also make RC Bomb cars...) but they horribly destroy the game's difficulty.
Overall, RAGE feels like a showcase for the great megatexture technique from ID, but offers little to nothing for any player who has already played good old DOOM, and falls horribly short of the kind of game it wants to be. Having played the whole storyline, I am still left wondering what the actual point was.… Expand
Average User Score: 5.6Jul 15, 2013Cities XL has been running for quite a while longer than its 'Platinum' update. This review will focus on the game itself, and less on theCities XL has been running for quite a while longer than its 'Platinum' update. This review will focus on the game itself, and less on the issues surrounding the actual Platinum release. There is one simple reason for this: many issues have been solved, and the game has been improved, by an active mod community.
To start, Cities XL Platinum should not be played without mods. The mod community found at XLnation.net has created workarounds and additions to the game that help it overcome its flaws.
CitiesXL had every potential to be the greatest and most detailed City Sim on the market. It offers a staggering range of build options and a build menu that seems to expand to infinity. With all that, the game still has a pleasant learning curve and introduces the new options slowly as cities grow. This is a major achievement, something similar games like Sim City have not managed to do on a similar scale.
The freedom in terms of construction is stunning the placement grid is so incredibly fine, that everything can be placed pretty much anywhere on the map. And the map, in general, is massive, allowing for cities with millions of inhabitants. As the game progresses further, world monuments and other iconic buildings (called 'Megastructures') enter the arena, and prove to be massive, cost-intensive projects that force you to open trade with neighbouring cities. This trade system is slightly sub-par, but usable and has been modded so that it no longer poses a serious strain on gameplay.
All this freedom in placement and construction also comes with some drawbacks. One major issue the game has, is that it suffers from serious performance drops when games last for longer than a few hours. Large cities require some pretty serious PC horsepower, too. But even on high-end machines, this game will slow down to a crawl in terms of FPS after a while. A game restart will alleviate the issue, but the framedrop will return. This issue has not been solved, but one can still play the game fine if an occasional restart is not seen as a problem.
Overall, CitiesXL offers the largest scale City Sim you can find. It is very healthy to treat CitiesXL like an Alpha of a game that you play with the knowledge not everything works perfectly well. Save at regular intervals, and mod the game to your liking, and CitiesXL becomes brilliant.… Expand